Online dating is a fantastic way to create tons of opportunities, have some fun and, like I did, find fantastic love. I met my husband online and now, as The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women over 40, I help women all over the world meet great men every day.
Before online dating can work, though, you may have to get your assumptions out of the way first. Check that you’re not buying into these five very common myths. Happy dating!
Myth #1: You think you can figure out what’s wrong with him by reading his profile.
I see this all the time: Women approaching reading a profile like she’s doing one of those ‘what’s wrong with this picture’ challenges. She’s searching for that one thing that turns her off so she can eliminate him and move on.
Could this be you? Maybe he mentions he belongs to a wine tasting club and there is a photo of him with a wine glass in his hand. Or maybe he states that he doesn’t drink. Either way he must be an alcoholic, right? Or maybe he has a picture of his Harley and you eliminate him because you just aren’t into that biker chick thing. Even if everything else is attractive, you focus on that and assume he’s a biker dude expecting you to join him. So…next!
Here’s a real life example: My client, Karen, and I were looking online together. We found a guy with a great profile, but then she found The Thing: he lived in an apartment. She asked “What’s a 60-year-old guy doing living in an apartment? I can’t go out with him!” I encouraged her to go out with him and hear his story. She did, and it turned out he was a very successful land developer who owned five homes. He wasn’t of modest means, he was just living in an apartment while waiting for his custom home to be completed.
You definitely want to pay attention to what is in a guy’s profile, but remember that a profile is not a person. It’s only a few words and some checked boxes. When you approach it trying to find something wrong, you will most certainly find something. Even if you have to make it up.
I recommend that instead of setting out in ‘exclude’ mode, start by looking for three things you LIKE in his profile. When you start with what might make it work, I promise you’ll find far more men who seem interesting and possible.
Myth #2: You can tell you’ll hit it off with someone by their profile.
This is the flip side of Myth #1. I see women going crazy over someone who looks good on paper. Maybe he says he’s looking for someone to travel the world with. Or he can’t wait to fall in love and get married. It’s so easy to fall in love with a profile, especially if you like the picture. I know, I fell in love countless times before I met my husband.
One of my clients was a huge animal lover. She couldn’t wait to meet this guy who said in his profile that he volunteered at an animal shelter. She had decided that a man with this sensitivity must be a compassionate and giving person. She had a crush on him before they even met.
Well, after a couple of disappointing dates she realized that he may be nice to animals, but he was arrogant and self-centered with people. Had she gotten to know him better in real life before being blinded by her assumptions, she would have saved herself a ton of disappointment.
I recommend you keep reality in mind. You don’t know these guys! It’s this unnecessary disappointment that, when felt repeatedly, chips away at your excitement and resolve and makes you quit before you write your love story.
Myth #3: A man should court you in a certain way, and if he doesn’t, he is out.
Here are some examples of complaints I hear from women: If he sends me his phone number he’s a lazy jerk. If he doesn’t respond to me within a certain time frame, he’s not really interested. If he takes me to a below par place (in her opinion), he’s cheap.
Maybe you have expectations of how a man should communicate and how he should go through the online dating process with you. And if he doesn’t do it the way you think he should, he’s a jerk or just off your list.
Instead of nixing him because he didn’t follow your secret rules, learn polite but direct ways to tell him what you want. For example, if he sends you his phone number and you want him to call you, tell him that you’re interested but prefer that he make the first call. Then give him your number and tell him you hope that works for him. If he doesn’t call, no biggy. If he does, good sign!
If his profile looks promising, and this one thing bugs you, kindly tell him your preference and give him a chance to step up. Many men will appreciate it. Remember, good guys will want to make you happy!
Myth #4: You assume he expects everything on his list.
This is the problem with lists and exactly why I tell my coaching clients not to turn their profile into a wish list. It eliminates too many good people. They won’t even email you if they think they can’t measure up.
Just like you, men might list all the qualities of their fantasy date. (I think we do this just in case we might actually get it.) When you see his age range of 25-55, or that he wants someone skinny and over 5’6”, or a gal who scuba dives…don’t assume he must have all that or won’t be interested. And don’t blame a guy for tryin’.
If you are shorter, heavier or in the upper end of his age range, confidently go for it anyway. Especially if you have other commonalities and he intrigues you. Maybe he just hasn’t learned what you already know: A dating profile is a marketing piece, not a wish list.
Myth #5: You can’t say ‘yes’ to a next date unless you think he could be The One.
You just can’t tell in one coffee date that he is, or isn’t, the man you’re going to fall in love with. I married my husband only six months after we met, and even I didn’t know on our meet-date that he was The One!
I know you want to be kind. I know you may dread having to tell a nice man that you don’t want to see him again. But to say no to going out with someone you don’t yet know because he’s not wowing you and you anticipate you won’t want another date after that…it doesn’t make sense, girlfriend.
Here is an article that talks that chemistry thing (which hardly ever works) and why you should dump your desire to be dazzled. For today, I’ll share this: Dating is about getting to know people. Don’t hesitate to go on another date with someone you enjoy, just because you may have to say no to him at a later time.
Just go and remember: dating is about discovering, not deciding. Stay in the moment and be open to learning about the person you’re with. Feel what comes with spending time with him, and if you don’t see any potential after the second or third date, just tell him so. He may be disappointed, but he’ll be okay. And you will know that you didn’t miss a wonderful opportunity because you dated like a grownup and gave him a chance.